This article provides information on a portion of the Absorb LMS Admin Experience that has been upgraded to the refreshed Admin Experience (AE).  Click here to learn more about this free upgrade available to you.

Overview

Departments are a required feature which is used to organize and classify Users. Users can only be in one Department, and also must belong to one. This clear structure of one User per Department helps you know what to expect when creating accessibility rules and generating reports throughout your LMS. This article will explain how to create Departments and provide tips and best practices for their use.

 

Important FYI

  • It is strongly recommended to use unique names for each Department. Duplicate names will cause administration to become difficult. If you have a data import integration and the source of truth has duplicate Department names, we recommend adding the Department code or some other way to identify them to the end of each duplicate name.
  • If you are adding new Users to a Department and have a Blended Billing Model, a tool tip will state whether the Department you've selected has Internal or External Billing applied. Please ensure you have selected the correct Department and the Department has the expected Billing Type.large-billing default enroll key.png

 

Creating Departments

Departments are a required feature which is used to organize and classify Users. This section will guide you through the steps of creating a new Department.

Details: Creating a new Department

How to Add New Department.gif

Step 1: Navigate to Departments from the Users tab on the left, then select Add Department on the right. This will open the Add Department menu. The following instructions also apply when editing an existing Department.

Step 2: Begin by expanding the General tab and entering the Department Name and selecting the Parent Department. The Parent Department will define where this new Department exists in your Department hierarchy. If you toggle on Use Department Contact Details and enter information, then System Messages will automatically pull this information when messaging a User that belongs to this department. If you require further details on how to customize System Messages, please see the Message Templates article.

Here is a visual example of a 3-tiered Department Hierarchy using a common organizational structure:

Department Hierarchy Example 2.png

Step 3: Next, move on to the optional Field Values tab. If information is added into the Job Title or Location fields, then the Users in this Department will be restricted to have only the values you have entered as options for those fields in their User Profile. Admin who are editing Users in that Department will also be limited to selecting between those values. This is especially useful if you have structured your hierarchy based on either Job Title or Location.

Step: 4: Click Save on the top right.

 

Assigning Users to Departments

Once you have created your new Department, the next step will be to assign Users to it. There are two primary ways to do this, which are both done through the Users Administrative Report.

Individually Assigning Users 

How to Change User Department.gif

Step 1: Navigate to Users from the Users tab on the left, then select the User that you would like to add to the Department. Then, select Edit User on the right. This will open the Edit User menu.

Step 2: Expand the General tab, and scroll down to Department. Select the blue button Select Department. This will open up the Select Department modal.

Step 3: Search for your Department or expand the drop-down hierarchy to find it manually. Select your Department and click Choose.

Step: 4: Click Save on the top right.

Bulk Assigning Users

How to Bulk Change User Department.gif

Step 1: Navigate to Users from the Users tab on the left, then multi-select the Users that you would like to add to your Department.

Tip:

Please add any filters that will make it easier to find the bulk Users that you would like to add. Once you have defined them by using filters, you can click Select This Page.
Users - Select This Page.png

Step 2: Select Change Department on the right. This will open the Change Department menu.

Step 3: Search for your Department or expand the drop-down hierarchy to find it manually. Select your Department and click Choose.

Step: 4: Click Save on the top right.

 

Deleting Departments

When attempting to delete a Department, you may receive an error message which will indicate what is preventing the Department from being deleted. For example, since all Users are required to belong to a Department, you must move all Users out of a Department before deleting it. 

Details: Deleting Departments

The following scenarios will prevent a Department from being deleted:

Scenario Action

The Department contains Active or Inactive Users

You must move all of these Users to a new Department before deleting this one.

Department - Users.png

The Department is a parent to other Sub-Departments

You must move all Sub-Departments to belong to a different parent. If this Department was deleted as-is, then those Sub-Departments would have no parent.

Department - Sub Departments.png

There are Department Admin who have their User Management set to this specific Department.

You must change their User Management to a different Department.

Department - User Management.png

The Department is still in use in at least one Availability Rule, including Enrollment rules, Automatic Group rules, or Availability rules for features such as Billboards.

You must removes these Availability rules.

Department - Automatic Enrollment Rule.png

The Department contains one or more locations under the Field Values tab.

You must delete all locations in the Field Values tab for this Department.

Department - Field Values.png

 

In all of these cases, the following error message will appear and indicate what is preventing it from being deleted:

Department - Delete Notification.png

 

User Management By Department

You are able to assign an Admin to manage the Users within a Department or a Department and it's related Sub-Departments. This section will review the User Management process from the Departmental perspective, for a full overview of the User Management feature, please visit our User Management article.

Details: User Management by Department

How to Add Department User Management.gif

Step 1: Navigate to Users from the Users tab on the left, then select the Admin that you would like to add to the Department. Then, select Edit User on the right. This will open the Edit User menu.

Step 2: Expand the Account tab, and scroll down to the Admin toggle (which should be toggled on for Administrator permissions). Below the Admin toggle, see User Management and select Department. This will expand the section to include Manage Department, where you can select the Department that you would like this Admin to manage. You have the option of Is Only or And Sub-Departments of to determine if the Admin will be able to also manage the Users within Sub-Departments of the Department that you have selected. You can add more than one Department to this Rule.

Step: 3: Click Save on the top right.

 

Best Practice Tips:

Departments vs Groups

Departments are a required feature which is used to organize and classify Users. Users can only be in one Department, and also must belong to one.

Groups are an optional feature that can be used in instances where your Department structure does not capture a subset of Users that you need to administrate or report on. Users can be in more than one Group, or none.

This best practice tip will review how to use Departments and Groups in different scenarios.

Details: Departments vs Groups

Here are a few scenarios that will guide you through deciding whether you should use a Department or a Group in certain situations:

Scenario Department or Group?
You want a unique Learner Interface experience for your Learners.

Departments allow you to customize the Learner Interface for each Department, whereas Groups do not. Additionally, you can have a unique URL Route for each Department. So, if you would like a unique Learner Experience for your subset of Learners, then it is best to use a Department.

You want to automatically sort your Users into subsets based on a specific criteria.

For example, you want a subset of employees including everyone in California that was hired after 2021 and afterwards.

Groups have a feature which automatically assigns Users to a group based on specified criteria.

You need to manage a subset of Learners that are all in different Departments.

For example, you have a committee in your organization which includes employees from various departments and job roles. 

Users are only able to be in a single Department, whereas Groups allow you to add Users to multiple Groups. In this example, it would be best to use the Groups feature to supplement your existing Department structure.

You want your LMS to mirror your organization's structure as much as possible.

Departments allow you to create a tiered hierarchical structure, so it is possible to mirror the departmental structure of your organization as well. This may make internal discussions with your people leaders easier since everyone easily understands how your employees are sorted in the LMS.

Internal vs External Departments

There are a few different methods of separating Internal Users from External Users in Absorb. The recommended way to achieve this is to first create two new Departments called Internal and External. If you are selling course content or are administrating your LMS for your own clients, it may be valuable to consider this use-case tip.

Details: Internal vs External Departments

There are a few different methods of separating Internal Users from External Users in Absorb. The recommended way to achieve this is to first create two new Departments called Internal and External. Place these new Departments immediately after the highest level Department in your hierarchy. The highest level Department in your LMS is referred to as the Root Department. Next, place any internal employees under the Internal Department, and any external Users such as your Clients under the External Department. If you sell courses through E-Commerce, you could add those Users to the External Department stream as well.

One method for creating a unique experience for different groups of Users in Absorb is to create and use separate URLs, separately or in conjunction with custom branding and department templates based on the department that the users are in.

As an example, we could have one department called, Internal, set up to access Absorb using a custom URL, login page, and see a custom design specific to the, External, department. Our second, External, department would access Absorb using an altogether different custom URL, and see a different login page, and custom design specific to their department. Here is a visual example of this Department structure:

Department Hierarchy Example.png

There are many benefits of structuring your Departments this way. For example, you can create custom URL Routes for the Internal and External department streams in order to create a unique experience. You can also create new Department Templates for unique dashboard branding on the Learner Interface. You will need to contact your Client Success Manager or Account Manager to have new URL Routes created.

Another major benefit of this Internal/External structure is that it makes it easy to assign courses. For example, if you have a Security Policy training that only your employees need to complete, you could create the Automatic Enrollment Rule Department + Sub Department of "Internal". This rule would automatically enroll all of your employees but none of the External employees.

Note: If you have a Blended Billing Model and are assigning Users to a Department, a tool tip will state whether the Department you've selected has Internal or External Billing applied. Please ensure you have selected the correct Department and the Department has the expected Billing Type.

large-billing default enroll key.png

 

Roles and Permissions

Below are the Required Role Permissions Admins will need to View and/or Modify Message Templates within the LMS and the Suggested Role Permissions Admins may want to have in combination of what is required.

Please note that your environment may use customized Roles, Permissions, or a combination of both to perform these activities. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact your local System Administrator to review your current permissions.

Related Admin Roles & Permissions Details

Required Role Permissions

Users > Departments View and Modify permissions
Users > Users View permission

 

Suggested Role Permissions

Users > Groups View or Modify permissions
Users > Users Modify or Manage Administrators permissions

 

 

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